Yes, after a prolonged absence your favourite guide to cooking food fit for an Arts student is back. So far we’ve covered some of the most important cookery topics, cooking the perfect potato, tha romantic meal for two, dealing with the morning after a serious lash up, and of course when your mother comes to visit. But this time we’re covering the tricky topic of porridge. Porridge is an essential food for the financially strapped student. It’s cheap to buy, and cheap to make, thus maximising your available drinking money. But it’s tricky to get just right, so read on and Auntie Amanda will guide you on your journey to porridge perfection.
- Find a pot.
- It’s probably best if you now wash the pot.
- Reach for the package of porridge.
- Realise you forgot to buy it, and go to the shop for a bag.
- Return home, and measure out one cup full of oats, and pour into the pan.
- You can make porridge with either water, milk or a mix of both. I advise you go with the milk. It just tastes better. So go to the fridge.
- Return to the shop for a carton of milk.
- Measure out 3 full cups of milk, pour each of them into the pan with the oats.
- Now, you’ve worked hard so chill out for half an hour while you let the oats soak up that milky goodness. Have a beer, bought with the money you’ve saved by deciding to live on 90% porridge for the next three years.
- Pause “The Evil Dead” (The cool kids still watch that, right?) and return to the kitchen. Turn on the cooker ring which, and I can not state this strongly enough, has the pan on it.
- Bring the porridge to a soft gentle boil, stirring constantly.
- Turn down the cooker, and allow to cook for a minimum of ten minutes. The packaging on your porridge will say less but ignore those instructions, they’re wrong. They were after all written by some pencil pushing bureaucrat in an office somewhere in Europe, and you’re a renegade porridge cooker who goes his/her own way when it comes to the cooking of porridge!
- Somewhere in those ten minutes get distracted by your extremely hot housemate (of any gender, that preference is entirely up to you) walking, possibly naked who knows what might happen, into the kitchen.
- Pour your porridge into a bowl.
- Put the now dirty porridge pot into the sink, and leave for 24 hours before cleaning, after all no need to rob yourself of a challenge.
- Sweeten, salt, or add jam to your porridge to suit your own tastes.
- Taste porridge.
- Note with satisfaction that it is in fact creamy, with a pleasing soft texture in your mouth.
- Note with dissatisfaction that it also tastes like that time aged 7 you tried to make custard and ended up with nothing but a pot filled with burn.
- Order a take-away.
- Beg parents/bank manager/any god of your choice for more money for “tuition”.
And there we have it. How to make perfectly un-crunchy porridge. So enjoy your take-away, and next time we’ll discuss how to make a pizza.
Eventually it’s going to happen. Somewhere amongst the drunken debauchery, the lying to your friends about all the great random sex, you agree to let your mother come to visit. Odds are you were drunk when you thought it would be a good idea. It’s possible that she was too, after all she agreed to it. But regardless she’s coming, and you live in pestilence, with a scar from where a fork was embedded in your skull.
This is it D-Day. The invasion is imminent. Your housemates have made themselves scarce. The place is as tidy as it’s ever going to be, by which I mean everyone has shoved what their own stuff in the doors, and onto the floors of their respective rooms. The place has been hoovered, though of course it would have been more successful if the bag hadn’t exploded mid-job. Even the windows were shown the clean side of a tea towel, which wonder of wonders was then put in the laundry basket, and not simply used as a bath towel, before being further used to dry the washing up.
And yet you have this sense of dread. Like you’ve forgotten something. Almost as if a recollection from a drunken suggestion was rising up to haunt your present…
Oh shit you promised you’d cook for her!
Well, panic not, Auntie Amanda is here to help you survive this disaster, just as she has so many others in the past. So shall we begin?
First of all this is called a chicken.
You are probably more aware of its existence as the filling in a chicken nugget. But it also comes in a body shaped form wrapped in plastic. Well. today this is your best friend.
- Run screaming out of your house, and head immediately to the nearest supermarket.
- Run screaming back home to this time bring your wallet.
- In the meat aisle find, and then purchase one whole uncooked chicken.
- Do not be tempted to buy a pre-cooked one, and then pretend that it’s your own work. Mammy will know what you’ve done, and the gods will punish you.
- Bring it home.
- Try to refrain from having a shot of something to steady your nerves. This will only lead to trouble later when your mother accuses you of a drinking problem.
- Switch on the oven and pre-heat it. If the oven is of the typical caliber available in student housing turn it the whole way up. It still probably won’t be hot enough.
- Take the chicken out of the packaging. This is an important step as nothing ruins the flavour of a roast chicken like a layer of melted in plastic.
- Run fresh tap water, through its body cavity.
- Check inside with your hands to see if there’s a plastic bag filled with internal organs inside.
- Complain loudly at how revolting having a hand inside a dead chicken that was.
- Put the chicken in a baking tray.
- Chop up an onion, and place it around the chicken.
- Take two of the rashers you were saving for dinner during the week, and put it over the chicken.
- Cover the chicken with some of the tin foil one of your more interesting housemates wears as a hat to stop the government from reading his mind. I would suggest you use a fresh piece, and not one which comes pre-greased from his hair.
- Put the chicken in the oven.
- Take a deep breath, you’re half way there.
- Peel some vegetables. You know the green, white, and orange, phallus shaped things in the fridge. The ones that you’ve been avoiding since you arrived at university.
- Coat them with oil, and place on a separate oven tray.
- After the chicken has been in the oven for an hour, put the vegetables in also.
- Now run a comb through your hair, make sure you’re at least somewhat clean, and answer the door to your poor mother. She’s freezin’ out there.
Now here is where you’re either made, and will forever more be known as her favourite child. Or you could alternatively end up being taken out of her will. It all depends on whether the chicken you bought was frozen or not…
- The chicken was thawed.
- It cooked perfectly.
- The vegetables were delicious.
- Your mother thinks you’re the best daughter/son in the world.
- You can relax.
- If the chicken was frozen, you will serve your mother cold, semi-thawed meat. She will taste it, and then look at you as if you are worse than every war-criminal in history.
- Since you can’t face serving her a plate of Detonated Potato, you will be forced to take her out for dinner. Thus wiping out your drinking money for the month.
- Later you will also be forced to accompany her to the hospital when she develops a severe case of botulism.
- You will then hear her scream at the top of her lungs, “I have no son/daughter!” as goo flies from both ends of her body simultaneously.
- You will be removed from her will, have all family sourced financial aid stopped, wind up on the street, and be found with your face gnawed off by rats.
So no stress, it’s just a visit from mom.
Last night was Halloween. You dressed up as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (how original), you went out, you partied, you drank, you failed to score. But you still went to bed happy, secure in the knowledge that you would definitely not end up with a hangover the following morning. After all, on the advice of your best friend, you drank a whole glass of water when you got home. Unfortunately it turns out that what they actually meant for you to do was to drink a couple of pint glasses of water. Where in fact you drank one single, solitary shot glass of tasteless, flat water. Woops silly you.
Now of course you’ve been rudely awoken by the distinct sensation of your brain trying to exit your head, via your ears. It’s just a shame that your brains have been so poisoned that they’ve actually gotten rather lost. Instead of heading directly for your ear canals, they’ve somehow gotten turned around, and are instead trying to exit via your temples, eyes, and judging by the twitchiness in your stomach apparently via your mouth as well.
Well then, as of now the single most burning question in your mind has to be, “How do I survive my brains attempts to murder me?”. Well fear not Auntie Amanda is here with her guide to making the perfect hangover survival breakfast. That’s right just follow some simple steps, and you too can turn from a soon to be corpse, to a soon to be 24 hour zombie.
- Without opening your eyes sit up and place your feet firmly on the floor. Don’t be too concerned if this takes you several attempts, instead think of it as reliving a key part your very early childhood.
- Open your eyes.
- Regret opening your eyes, and slump back on to your bed, while moaning for your mommy.
- Remember that your mommy is another county, and can’t help you.
- Remember that if even if she was in your house all she would do is laugh at you, before slamming your bedroom door shut as loudly as possible.
- Holding one hand over your mouth, again with your eyes closed, lever your complaining body upright once more.
- Dash to the bathroom, and proceed to be heartily sick.
- Remind yourself to reread Terry Pratchett’s “Feet of Clay” with its very amusing reference to being “heartily sick”.
- Stagger unsteadily downstairs to the kitchen. While you do this please remember to hold on tight to everything, whether it will actually help you to keep upright or not.
- Sit at the kitchen table, and contemplate having some breakfast.
- Wake up again one hour later, with your face slightly glued to the table by what you hope is your own drool.
- Stand up determined this time to actually make some breakfast.
- Realise that not only did you forget to do your food shopping, but you actually drank your food money for the week, last night.
- You start to panick until you notice 2 eggs, a knob of butter, and a splash of milk in a carton.
- Right, you think to yourself, Scrambled eggs it is then!
- To cook scrambled eggs when you find that all the pots have been used as “flower” pots by your hippy housemate, take out one bowl.
- Wash said, bowl.
- Grease the inside of the bowl with the knob of butter. Do your best to ignore the slimy sensation of the butter in your hands.
- Break both eggs into the bowl.
- Pour the splash of milk into the bowl.
- Whisk the mixture well with a fork, having cleaned it first please.
- Place the bowl in a microwave for one minute.
- After the microwave signals that it has finished, by setting off what sounds like a church bell, open the door and stir the mixture in the bowl again.
- Put the microwave on again for a further two minutes.
- While you wait try to find a slice of bread to make into toast.
- Remember that you thought it was a great idea to feed the ducks, at three this morning, hence no more bread.
- Jump out of your skin when the microwave goes “BING!” again.
At this point one of two things is going to happen. If you didn’t use a microwave safe bowl you will…
- Open the microwave.
- Pick up the bowl with your bare hands.
- Half way to the table realise that you can smell burning flesh. You will then look down and realise it’s your own fingers.
- Drop your breakfast. Breaking the bowl and spreading the last of your food across the floor.
- Make a half-hearted attempt to clean it before going back to bed, and crying yourself to sleep.
However if you used a microwave safe bowl you will…
- Open the microwave.
- Carry the bowl to the table.
- Shake a little salt over it.
- Realise that what you thought was a little salt, was in fact half the salt production of the Dead Sea area for the past 2 years.
- Shrug, and pick up your fork.
- Look closely at what you have made for the first time.
- Realise that instead of delicious smelling, fluffy, slightly moist scrambled eggs you have somehow ended up with what appears to be a circular, sort of rotten egg scented, brick.
- Shrug again. After all you’re hungry, hung over, and this is the last of your food. Jab your fork into it.
- Scream as your fork rebounds and embeds itself in your forehead. Turns out that the circular, sort of rotten egg scented, brick, is actually made from some kind of high density rubber.
- Leave the first fork where it is. It must have hit an acupuncture spot, you head actually feels a little better with it there. Get another fork.
- Try again, this time more carefully.
- Without looking too closely at what’s on your fork pop it into your mouth and chew thoroughly. This may take some time depending on how dense a rubber the eggs have formed.
- Repeat until the bowl is empty.
- Return to bed.
- Wake up the following morning, use part of next weeks food money to buy Ramen noodles, and walk to class. Wondering the whole time why people look at your face, and scream in horror.
- Sit quietly at the back of the first lecture. Feel yourself slowly drifting off to sleep.
- Wake up screaming when you hit the desk face first, jamming the fork ever deeper into your skull.
- Still it was a great Halloween, can’t wait for next year!
So there you have it a survival guide to the morning after the night before. Complete with the recipe for Microwave Scrambled (Rubber) Eggs.
Next time we will finally get around to my famous recipe for non-crunchy porridge, I promise.